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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Blue Jays 7, Athletics 5: Josh Donaldson hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the 10th. Brett Lawrie, I dunno, sat in his house and binge-watched season two of “Master of None” last night, very satisfied with the season overall, but somewhat troubled at the overly-dramatic and contrived conclusion to the Dev-Francesca arc which, while potentially satisfying in another context, was tonally off compared to the show’s otherwise grounded milieu.

Orioles 9, Pirates 6: Trey Mancini rode pine for eight innings before coming in as a pinch hitter in the ninth. He tied the game with a two-run homer there, stayed in the game, and hit a three-run walkoff homer in the 11th. I think we should all take this as an excuse to come in late to work today, telling our bosses that it’s not how you begin the day that matters, but how you end it.

Rays 3, White Sox 1: Rays starter Jacob Faria made his big league debut last night. All he did was take a three-hitter into the seventh inning for his first big league win. After the game, Faria called this the “best two-week span of my life.” The game story then goes on to note that, in a two week period in late May and early June 2011, Faria was drafted by the Rays and then got engaged to be married. I feel like whoever wrote that story was throwing some subtle shade, trying to get Faria in trouble with the missus.

Dodgers 2, Nationals 1: Clayton Kershaw (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 9K) and Stephen Strasburg (6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 8K) had themselves a pitcher’s duel. Kershaw won it, but it he got an assist from Nats catcher Jose Lobaton, who allowed Adrian Gonzalez to reach on a passed ball strike three. Yasmani Grandal then drove him in with a tiebreaking RBI double in the sixth.

Rockies 8, Indians 1: Colorado wins its fourth in a row as Nolan Arenado drove in three runs and Charlie Blackmon drove in two more. That was plenty of support for Kyle Freeland, who allowed only one run on six hits while pitching into the seventh. His counterpart, Trevor Bauer, didn’t do so hot. His diagnosis included an ~executed pitches~ moment:

Got myself in trouble by walking people. When I got in jams I feel like I executed pitches to try and get out of them and did the best I could to minimize the damage. The ball didn’t go to people today. I don’t know why.”

I don’t read all the postgame quotes, but any time any of you see some ~executed pitches~ talk, please let me know.

 

Yankees 8, Red Sox 0: CC Sabathia tossed eight shutout innings in the Year of Our Lord 2017, conclusively proving that there is, indeed, life after death. Chris Carter — who has been mostly dead all season — hit a three-run homer and drove in a fourth run with a single. Then again, there’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.

Tigers 4, Angels 0: Buck Farmer has made two starts this year. The first one, on May 27, featured him pitching shutout ball into the seventh, striking out 11. This one featured him pitching shutout ball into the seventh, striking out five. Farmer left the game with a 1-0 lead, but Justin Upton provided a bunch of insurance with a three-run homer in the eighth.

Reds 6, Cardinals 4: St. Louis had a 4-1 lead in the seventh, but the Reds rallied for five in the bottom half of that inning, thanks mostly to Patrick Kivlehan‘s  pinch-hit three-run homer. Big day for the late arrivers yesterday. The Cardinals, who have been killed by utility guys two nights in a row, have lost six in a row.

Braves 14, Phillies 1Mike Foltynewicz has always had amazing stuff, but like a lot of young fireballers, he hasn’t always been able to control it. If his last two starts are any indication, he’s figuring it out. Foltynewicz tossed seven shutout innings for the second game in a row. Nick Markakis hit three RBI doubles, driving in five as the Braves romped

Mets 4, Rangers 3: The Mets starting pitching was supposed to be their strength coming into the season but for various reasons it’s been their achilles heel. Zack Wheeler, however, helped straighten things out, at least for a night, with seven innings of one run ball. Jay Bruce helped with two homers which drove in three of the Mets’ four runs. Despite all of that it still took a ninth inning error by the Rangers to allow the Mets to score the go-ahead run.

Marlins 6, Cubs 5J.T. Realmuto and Marcell Ozuna homered as the Marlins avoid the sweep. Addison Russell had the night off. Yep, just a relaxing night off in which he could clear is mind and sharpen the saw, as the motivational types say. He should be good to go today, refreshed and renewed for the dog days just around the corner, with nothing to trouble his mind.

Brewers 6, Giants 3: Jimmy Nelson had been lights out his last two starts. He wasn’t as sharp last night against the Giants as he was against the Dodgers and Dbacks in those outings, but he still got the job done, scattering seven hits and allowing three runs over seven innings. Sometimes a pitcher just needs some help. Nelson got it from Jesus Aguilar, who went 2-for-4 and drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out double in the fifth.

Royals 7, Astros 5Jason Vargas scattered six hits over five innings. Cheslor Cuthbert drove in three and Lorenzo Cain hit a solo homer. The Royals were likely happy to have avoided Dallas Keuchel, who was scratched before the game with an unspecified illness that involved barfing and stuff due to what sounds like stomach flu.

Diamondbacks 7, Padres 4Jake Lamb and Brandon Drury homered in the Snakes’ five-run third inning to back Zack Greinke, who wasn’t as sharp as usual but still got the win. The Padres have dropped four straight.

Mariners 6, Twins 5: Mike Zunino hit two homers, his second one a two-run shot with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, giving Seattle a walkoff come-from-behind win. Kyle Seager and Carlos Ruiz also homered as the M’s win their ninth in ten games.

The Giants are winning but they’re still gonna sell

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The state of baseball in general, the state of the National League in particular and the state of the San Francisco Giants as a competitor are conspiring to create what seems like at least a mildly absurd situation.

The Giants, a veteran-laden team that, as recently as this past offseason but definitely within the past couple of years, were at least talking about being on a win-now footing, just swept a four-game series, have won five straight games and have won 12 of 14 to pull themselves to within two and a half games of a playoff spot.

Yet, that’s all for temporary show, because they’re about to sell off. At least according to Jeff Passan at ESPN. Giants president Farhan Zaidi tried to push back on that in a radio interview yesterday, denying that the club has foreclosed the possibility of a postseason push, but I’m not really buying that and I don’t think most people are.

On one level it makes sense to ignore the recent surge and forge on with a rebuild. Sure, the Giants are winning but they’re not exactly good. They’re two and a half out of the Wild Card, but there are many teams ahead of them. There’s a lot of reason to think that they’re playing in good fortune right now and that that, rather than finding some extra gear of sustainable better play, is what’s to credit. Hot streaks can happen at any time but the trade deadline only comes once a year. When you have the best starter available in Madison Bumgarner and the best reliever available in Will Smith, you gotta make those deals. That’s what I’d probably do if I ran the Giants and I think that that’s, wisely, what Zaidi will do.

Still, it’s an odd look, less for the Giants specifically than for baseball as a whole. We may in an era of cheap front offices who don’t like to contend if it means spending money, but it’s unfair to paint the Giants with that brush. They’ve spent money and acquired talent and have done whatever they can to extend their 2010-2014 mini-dynasty a few more years and in doing so they’ve made a lot of fans happy. That team has pretty much reached the end and, even in an earlier, more competitive era, they’d not be properly criticized for starting in on a rebuild. Heck, they’d be excused if they had done it a year or two earlier, frankly.

But, because so many teams have punted on improving themselves, these aging Giants are at least superficially competitive. As such, when they do sell off in the coming days, it’ll look to some like they’re waving a white flag or something when they’re not really doing that. I mean, the Rockies and the Pirates, among other teams, should be much better than they are but didn’t seem all that interested in improving, thereby helping the Giants look better, right? It’s less a knock on the Giants for rebuilding when they’re within striking distance of the playoffs than it is on the rest of the league for allowing a team like the Giants to be within striking distance of a playoff spot.

But that’s where we are right now. An insanely competitive Wild Card race from teams that, on the whole, are rather unconcerned with being competitive. What a time to be a baseball fan.